California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on July 17 when and how schools can reopen, and the precautions that must be followed.
The California Department of Public Health is monitoring a state watchlist for rising coronavirus infections that includes 37 of the 58 California counties. Any county on this list is not allowed to reopen its schools unless they make it off the watchlist for a consecutive 14 days.
For the schools that are unable to reopen in person, they must continue distance learning. According to Newsom, a budget that provided $5.3 billion in additional funding to support learning, including requirements ensuring schools provide “rigorous and grade-appropriate instruction.”
This is good news because of how likely it is for schools to close at least once in the upcoming semester. This new budget is making it so all school districts are required to provide their students with electronic devices, daily live interaction with teachers or peers and a challenging curriculum equivalent to in-person instruction.
The schools that are allowed to reopen have their own set of guidelines to follow. According to Edsource.com, any student 3rd grade and over is required to wear a mask, while masks for younger children are “strongly recommended.” Additionally, schools will try their best to enforce social distancing and frequent cleaning.
These rules change if many people in the school contract the virus.
“A school would be closed when at least 5% of the student body and staff are diagnosed with COVID-19 within a 14-day period,” according to the Department of Public Health guidance. It was also made clear that a superintendent should close a school district if a “quarter of its schools have been closed due to COVID-19 cases within two weeks.”
Some school districts are allowing the parents to decide what’s best for their children. They are given the option to let their children return to school (if the school abides by Newsom’s new guidelines) or to have their child do online school for as long as this virus persists, according to ca.gov.
With the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s difficult to know how safe a child’s return to school is. We must all try our best to make good decisions and be safe.